Empty Windows Recycle Bins for all users with a simple command

Windows Recycle Bin command

If you are running out of space in your hard drive, one of the first thing you need to do is try to empty Windows Recycle Bin. But what about when you have multiple user accounts in your system? It is a time-consuming just switching between users and emptying every recycle bin one-by-one, besides if the account is password protected you may not even be able to login leaving you in the dark.

With this simple command you can force Windows to empty all users Recycle Bins, but of course this is only possible if your user account has administrator rights and you open the Run command as administrator.

One thing to notice is that the command syntax will vary depending of your operating system.

  • If you are running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008, you can use the following command:
rd /s C:\$Recycle.Bin

And it also seems to work in Windows 8 Developer Preview as well.

  • If you still running the good old Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows Server 2003, you can use the following command: 
rd /s C:\recycler
Note: If the command doesn’t work, make sure that you change C:\ with the drive letter where Windows is installed.
About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me. Email him at [email protected].